Editorial — This week we got in touch with our State Representatives and asked the following hypothetical question: If the House were preparing to vote on a bill to raise the speed limit on a long flat stretch of Route 16 specifically to accommodate the owners of high-performance sports cars, would you vote for it?
We asked that question because such a bill is coming up for a vote in the House – except that it pertains to boat speed limits instead of cars.
SB27 proposes to increase the boat speed limit from 45 to 55 for a section of Lake Winnipesaukee known as the Broads. As the name implies, the Broads is a long, wide stretch of lake where, if you owned a high-performance speedboat, you might be tempted to “open it up.” Stated simply, the sponsors of SB27 want to make it legal for a small group of high-performance speedboat owners to “open it up.”
There is no other reason for this bill – no public interest noted, no mitigating factors cited. In our mind, that makes it special interest legislation of the most odious sort – and the kind of legislative nonsense that many of those who were elected last November campaigned against.
Moreover, passage of SB27 would make it more difficult to make an accurate long-term assessment of whether the current 45/30 speed limit improves safety, encourages more non-motorized boat use, and is better for business and tourism – the objectives for which the speed limit law was designed.
As an organization we have not taken a general position on boat speed limits. But we have been watching the Winnipesaukee test carefully because we think the results are relevant to all of the state’s large lakes, including ours. That test ought to be allowed to proceed without being compromised by special interest legislation like SB27.
Senator Bradley voted against SB27 in the Senate vote, and we have urged Representatives Merrow, Babson and McConkey to oppose the bill in the House vote. You can make your opinion known by contacting them as well.